Should you have been lucky enough to have an uncle Alexandre (Narcy) who spent his entire career designing shoes for Yves Saint Laurent, it wouldn't be surprising you'd ended up on a similar career path. Dabbling in physics (pressure from the fam), plus a stint in the Navy and engineering - less so - but combined, they conspired to create the unusual shoe design aesthetic and philosophy of Raphael Young. "I understand the importance of physics and mechanism, as well as art and sculpture," explains the Seoul-born designer. "We all work with the same fundamentals when you break it down: equilibrium, volume, density, realistic materials, and lines of force." His urban take belies his artisanal approach - every pair is handmade by Young himself, using traditional shoe-making techniques to craft couture kicks with a sexy, hard-rock edge. Purchasing info at RaphaelYoung.com.
- Lesley Scott